SEBTS dedicates George Braswell Library
By Lauren Pratt
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — The George Braswell Missions and World Religions Library was dedicated Sept. 12 in honor of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s emeritus professor of missions and world religion. Braswell and his wife Joan served as the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Iran from 1968-1974.
“We are so thankful that in God’s kindness He brought you to Southeastern Seminary and you are a part of this family,” Akin said.
At a reception following chapel, Braswell cut the ceremonial ribbon to the newly dedicated library, where guests could view his collection of books and Iranian memorabilia. During the reception, Akin noted how Braswell played a significant role at Southeastern in establishing its Great Commission fabric over the years.
The library, located in the Sam James Conference Room in the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies, displays books and memorabilia highlighting Braswell’s service in Iran and extensive study of Muslim peoples. The library is an extension of the main library, where students can check out books from the Sam James Conference Room.
The chapel service featured a video with Braswell about his call to the mission field and lessons he learned while on the field.
Braswell, who began his first pastorate in 1962 at Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, N.C., had a passion to see the 25 younger congregants in his church go to the nations.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to get one of them to be a foreign missionary,'” Braswell said in the interview. “I preached more foreign missions sermons from the pulpit…. Lo and behold, the Braswells were called to missions.”
Braswell advised students to listen to the wisdom of older people in the church and to remain a learner as they follow God’s call.
“I would say to the generation today, open yourself up to some of the things that maybe Dr. Braswell is telling you about today that inspired him and those things can inspire you.”
Over the years, the Braswells have worked to reach the lost and trained others to do the same, serving and teaching throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Braswell has committed much of his life to researching the Muslim context, writing both his master’s and doctoral theses on the subject. He has published 13 books and numerous articles on outreach to Muslims, including “What You Need to Know About Islam and Muslims,” “From Iran to America: Encounters with Many Faiths” and “Understanding World Religions,” published in English and Korean.
Braswell has won numerous awards from Southeastern, including the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 1987 and a distinguished professorship by SEBTS trustees in 1998. Along with more than three decades of teaching at Southeastern, Braswell has served as senior professor of world religions at Campbell Divinity School in North Carolina since 2005. He formerly served as an associate director at the Armaghan Institute in Iran, professor of history at Damavand College in Iran and professor of English and comparative religions at the University of Tehran. He has held positions as president of the Beckett Center for Christian Understanding of Islam in Virginia and was the founding director of the World Religions and Global Cultures Center at Campbell Divinity School.
Braswell has attained five degrees: a master of arts and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina; a doctor of ministry from SEBTS; a master of divinity from Yale University Divinity School; and a bachelor of arts from Wake Forest University.
The full video interview with Braswell can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtH9b8MH6NY.
Lawless, Robinson installed in SEBTS’ original chairs
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Chuck Lawless and George Robinson were installed Sept. 10 in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s two original faculty endowed chairs — Lawless in the Richard and Gina Headrick Chair of World Missions and Robinson in the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism.
SEBTS President Danny Akin, in the chapel service, recounted being greatly influenced by a two-week trip he took with the Headricks to visit Southeastern’s 2+2 students across six South Asian countries.
“The Lord used that trip in an incredibly strategic way to even more instill in my heart a desire to see the Great Commission be the umbrella under which we do everything at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Akin said.
The Headricks are faithful donors to the seminary, serving as lifetime Southeastern Society members. An international speaker and author, Richard Headrick currently is the CEO of The Headrick Companies, Inc. in Laurel, Miss. He has served on multiple boards for such organizations as Bailey Smith Ministries, Kendrick Ministries, Alpha International Ministries and Grace International Outreach. The Headricks founded Hope Foundations, the Good Samaritan Foundation, Hellfighters International and Mission at the Cross Ministries. In 2012, the couple helped produce a full-length film titled “Last Ounce of Courage.”
Lawless serves as Southeastern’s dean of doctoral studies, vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions. He previously served as team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board and as vice president for the IMB’s Global Theological Advance. Lawless also previously served as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he also was vice president for academic programming and director of professional doctoral studies. Prior to joining the SEBTS faculty in 1996, Lawless had served as pastor of two Ohio churches.
The Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism was named after the late evangelist and Southern Baptist Convention president. Smith grew up in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He followed Adrian Rogers as the second SBC president in the Conservative Resurgence and was the youngest in that role, serving from 1980-1982. Smith also served simultaneously as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference. At 34, he became the youngest pastor to serve at First Southern Church in Del City, Okla., the second-largest church in the convention at the time. In 1986, Smith left his church in Del City to pursue his calling as a crusade evangelist, in a ministry comprised of Bailey Smith Ministries and his 30-year Real Evangelism Conferences. He died in January of this year at age 79 from pancreatic cancer.
Robinson has served as associate professor of missions and evangelism at SEBTS since 2008. Raised in metro Atlanta, Robinson received his B.A. in political science and M.A. in social studies education certification from the University of Georgia, his M.Div. from SEBTS and his doctor of missiology from Western Seminary. He taught in the public school system for five years before coming to SEBTS to pursue his M.Div. in international church planting. Robinson and his wife served in South Asia as part of the 2+2 program. In addition, he served as a church planting equipping coordinator for e3 Partners, which provides coaching in indigenous tribes across six countries. Robinson served as a pastor in Georgia and as an interim in a number of churches through the years.
Akin voiced a prayer of thanksgiving for the Headrick and Smith families and their generosity to Southeastern.
“I thank You, Lord, that not only do they have a passion for You, they also have generous hearts, willing to give that others might know Jesus.”
The chapel service also included a message from Mark Vroegop, pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, who preached on Psalm 55.
To view photos from the chapel service, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/southeastern/albums/72157710495168456.
NOBTS, Louisiana College sign articulation agreement
By Gary D. Myers
NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Louisiana College have signed an articulation agreement to help God-called men and women save time and money as they prepare for ministry.
The agreement, signed by NOBTS President Jamie Dew and LC President Rick Brewer, paves the way for the college’s Christian studies majors to apply a portion of their undergraduate coursework to the accelerated master of divinity program at NOBTS (Accelerated M.Div.).
The program reduces educational redundancy and the time it takes to complete the M.Div. by leveraging the biblical studies and ministry instruction at LC.
Dew said the main goal of the agreement is to advance the Gospel by helping God-called men and women complete their ministry preparation in a timely manner.
“With an eye towards advancing Christ’s Kingdom, it is absolutely vital that we provide efficient avenues for our students to receive theological preparation,” Dew said. “As such, we are excited about our partnership with Louisiana College that enables students to expedite their education by qualifying for advanced standing in the M.Div. program at NOBTS.”
Qualifying students can receive advanced standing for up to 25 percent of the 84-hour standard M.Div. Since students are not charged for advanced M.Div. credits, they are able to see considerable cost savings while completing a degree.
In preparation for the agreement, the two schools worked together to identify courses at LC comparable or equivalent to NOBTS courses. NOBTS then matched the qualifying courses with courses in the NOBTS M.Div. program.
LC students and graduates must meet additional requirements to qualify for the Accelerated M.Div. Potential students must apply to NOBTS and meet all admissions requirements. Students must have earned a “B” or higher in a qualifying undergraduate course to receive credit toward a master’s course, and the credits can only be applied to the Accelerated M.Div. program within five years of a student’s baccalaureate graduation.
For more information and a complete list of qualifying courses, visit www.nobts.edu/acceleratedmdiv.